We like talking about identity here on Debating Europe. In the past, we’ve asked if a common European identity is possible (without a common language), and whether there are such things as shared “European values”.

In recent months, however, the whole issue has taken on a new importance. First there was the Brexit vote, which was seemingly a rejection of European identity; now we’re seeing nationalist rumblings in Catalonia. Much more than cold, hard economics, these events are being inspired by passion, emotion, and, above all, by identity.

We had a comment sent in by Alberto, who suggested the EU cannot survive without a common European identity. He believes we need something greater than mere bureaucratic institutions binding us together. Is he right?

To get a response, we spoke to Pier Virgilio Dastoli, President of the Italian Council of the European Movement and a member of the pro-federalist Spinelli Group. What would he say?

From my point of view, European identity is intrinsically linked to the political system of the European Union. To have a genuine European identity, we need to create a system establishing a link between citizens and the European system. For me, I am a federalist, that means voting for a European parliament with the knowledge that it’s going to create a European government. That is one element of European identity. Without that step forward in terms of a true European government, we cannot have a true common identity.

To get another perspective, we also spoke to José Luis Martí, Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, whose research focus includes questions of democratic legitimacy. What would he say?

Having a common identity can happen at different layers. So, you might have an international common identity, a national common identity, or you might have a linguistic identity, and so on. So, I hope a collective of people doesn’t really need to have a very thick common identity in order to have a democracy. Because, if that is not the case, then many current democracies would be in serious trouble. So, it’s not true in the UK, or United States, or France, or let’s say Spain (maybe not the best example today); there are many examples of people who have managed to have a common democracy without having a common identity.

Some people argue that all you need for a common democracy is a basic agreement of common principles and values, such as agreements about what the constitution should protect, and so on. I would say that even this is, strictly speaking, not necessary in order to have a democracy. I think all that is required is some widespread will to live together and create that common structure. I think that is the only precondition that is required. Other than that, of course sharing certain things might help, and it might make it easier to get into understandings with people with whom you share the same language, culture, or history. But I think it’s not strictly speaking required. That cannot be the excuse not to have a democracy.

Can the EU survive without a common European identity? Do we need more than bureaucratic institutions to bind us together? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!


IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – sgoldswo
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196 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Oli Lau

    We have already a common identity. We are europeans, it is obvious, no need to explain it. What you have in mind is an identity totally dependent on European institutions to guarantee their survivability.

    While it should be the other way around. European institutions guaranteeing the European identity (or identities). then You wouldn’t have to wonder if they would survive or not.

    • Jane Tse

      Exactly! Identity issue serves only for politicians to earn support and to tear the union apart. EU is more a regional organization facilitating all communications and mutual support of the region for mutual benefit. It agrees totally the postwar “collective security” principle upholding by the international society of states. It is actually a subsystem insider the global system, a means for small nation-states to overcome challenges of the global era.

    • Rémi Martin

      Tu parles français? Sinon, je vois pas ce que j’ai en commun avec toi!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Rémi Martin
      The French language is too small and too sexist to be taken as a serious language in the 21st century.

    • Rémi Martin

      It’s time to call our armies around the world back then, no?

    • Jane Tse

      PEACE can always contribute to goodness of the people rather than war and confrontation.

    • Bódis Kata

      Yes. Diversity is our strength, not a weakness.

    • Ivan Burrows

      ‘Diversity in Unity’ is the old meaningless EU motto & as nothing to do with Europe, ‘One people, one Nation, One leader’ is the new EU motto.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Dirk Schönhoff
      Your EU motto is oxymoronic as well as being moronic.

    • Rémi Martin

      You can’t unite peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for, it’s a bit more complicated, look just history!

  2. Franco Suarez

    How does a family of brothers and sisters survive without a manufactured national identity to be Balkanized?

    • Rémi Martin

      Could you tell me a common point all the 27 members of EU are sharing? Nothing with language, culture, history… So speaking from brothers and sisters signify nothing. The non-members, how do they survive? You could have the same speech with Asia or Africa!

    • Bódis Kata

      The artificial one, being created by liberals.

    • Rémi Martin

      They tried the soviet identy in East, it didn’t work!

  3. Bódis Kata

    The EU has existed for decades quite well without an artificial common “European” identity.

    The reasons for the problems lie primarily in the massive mismanagement. >> The interests of the indigenous population are sacrificed for the interests of intentional capital groups as well as political ideology.

  4. Bódis Kata

    The EU has existed for decades quite well without an artificial common “European” identity.

    The reasons for the problems lie primarily in the massive mismanagement. >> The interests of the indigenous population are sacrificed for the interests of international capital groups as well as political ideology.

    • Rémi Martin

      It’s time to call our armies around the world back then, no?

  5. Andrew Potts

    No Europe has a diverse culture but Europeans recognise it and do not wish to have a common one we like our Europe diverse. We want our different nations different because that is what makes it work. We do not need our political overlords to tell us what it is or what it should be. Each European knows it in their heart

  6. Dino Boy Mican

    We re far fom having a common European identity that will supercede our national ones. I hope one day we ll have one. I hope that in the long process to this target, euro-fatigue won’t get the better of us.

    • Rémi Martin

      Just look at history, I bet it won’t work!

    • Rémi Martin

      After homo sovieticus, homo europeanus! A dream of a fews politicals…

    • George Frehden

      What you say about Arabeuros. germanicus fur echte leben ! a new mineral was brought from black hole.. The future is here, do not need to keep diet, learn to eat leaves! hhHh bye for now !

    • George Frehden

      What you say about Arabeurogenius germanicus fur echte leben ! a new mineral which was brought from black hole The future is here, do not need to keep diet, learn to eat leaves! bye for now !

    • Coralee De Fréine

      Not if the federalists get their way. They want to do away with our sovereign nationalities altogether:(

    • Rémi Martin

      The european people is something who doesn’t exist, they tried before by saying there was a soviet identity!

    • Rémi Martin

      Sorry, but I don’t see how Catalhuna could be independant by being in EU!

  7. Nikolas

    It’s very hard to build a strong EU without a common identity. We need to work more for the creation of a common identity which combines elements from all EU members.

  8. Max Berre

    Dumb question. How it runs depends mostly on how organized, competent and democratic its institutions are. THAT’S what needs attention.

  9. Marco Matani

    Eu can survive as far as there is no european identity. In the moment we have, we’ll destroy Eu to build the real european integration.

    • Rémi Martin

      The eternal dream of another Europe, but please, don’t think at us next time!

    • Rémi Martin

      I just want to keep my french identity, I don’t want your european identity, thanks!

    • Marco Matani

      I want to keep my italian identity as well. They are not opposite as they made us believe so far. This is the reason why I hate Eu: it says “Or italian or european”. While it should be: “European since italian”.

    • Rémi Martin

      This project isn’t a wish of peoples, so it’s dead in the egg, simply! ;)

    • Marco Matani

      I agree, Eu is dead, I’m the first that want to destroy it!
      But, after we destroy, we have to create something new and really different.

    • Rémi Martin

      Impossible, there’s nothing to federate all the countries.

    • Marco Matani

      I’m not talking about federations. I’m talking about fighting together great corporations, standing out together in the international policy to get rid of the yankees, handle together terrorism and so on. We have to share just what is convinient, not everything like currency ecc.

    • Rémi Martin

      We don’t need an union, a coorperation or what you want for that. Country-nations exist for that, where each country is finding interests; Airbus is a good example, nothing to do with EU…

    • Marco Matani

      If you don’t have cooperation on this you can charge Apple of Google as many taxes you want, but then you have an asshole like Junker which cuts down the taxes in Luxembourg and you’re over.

  10. Nijole Gulbinaite

    Klausimas: Ar diskutuojame apie bendra PASO ar Tapatybes korteles dizaino sukurima ES ?
    Manau svarbiausia kas parasyta tapatybes dokumente.
    MES,Europos gyventojai ir taip zinome,kad gyvename,dirbame ir vartojame EUROPOS ZEMYNO isteklius,todel ir vadinames EUROPIECIAIS. ESAME Unikalus kalbomis ( niekada nebusime vienakalbiai)!
    ESAME mokslo saltinis, todel daugiau sypsomes!
    Saugome ir Didziuojames Europos Unikalia Gamta.
    Tai lengviau daryti su bendru ES(EU) piniginiu vienetu EURO!
    Ponas J.C.Juncker, MES,Europieciai, didziuojames savo piniginiu vienetu EURO ir prasome padidinti JO kieki !
    Priezastis: spresti Europos saliu problemas !

  11. Paolo Miano

    Conscious or not, willing or not, we already have a European identity originating from centuries of common history (wars included). Can’t you see the differences in values with the other areas of the world, USA included. This is what we have to defend together. Or do you still think like in year 1500 that Europe is the world and that our little homelands can keep up with giants like USA, China, Russia, India, etc.?

    • Rémi Martin

      There’s nothing common between side,population of a country and the HDI(Human Development Index). Russia and China are excellent examples. For your knowledge, last time Europe was united for 400 years, there was a nice war during 30 years…

    • Paolo Miano

      I think you missed every point of my comment

    • Rémi Martin

      Alors, parle moi en français ou en européen et pas en américain si tu avoues qu’une telle identité doit exister!

    • Cezary Roman

      Greek philosophy – Roman law – Christian faith nad morality this is european identity

    • Rémi Martin

      Mouais, c’est pas avec ça que tu arriveras à unir 27 peuples, il en faudra un peu plus…

    • Nelson


    • José Bessa da Silva

      Difference in values? To start witj you have two major political values in Europe even right now. Atlanticists and Continentalists, opposing countries like the UK, Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, etc, to Germany, Spain, Italy, France, etc. If you don’t have, even in the political elite, a single thought, how come you’re telling me, that you share a common identity with me? No, you don’t.

  12. Μαργαρίτα Κυρίτση

    It’s kinda weird to expect to create the European version of United States by joining together people with different language… Different cultural background… people who face different enemies and threats.

    • Rémi Martin

      Simply, the european identity is something who doesn’t exist! I’ve certainly more things to talk about with Haitians, Algerians, etc… as with memebers of EU. What’s great, we’ve got a common language, it helps to understand us each other! ^_^

    • Dee O'brien

      The US was founded in completely different conditions

    • Rémi Martin

      By replacing peoples by migrants…

    • Karolina

      So why are Algerians bombing you in the streets of France, if they have so much in common with you, Remi? And what are you doing on a forum called Debating Europe if you have nothing to discuss with other Europeans?

      Can’t you see the contradiction in your own comments?

  13. Craig Willy

    European nations share in a common genetic and cultural identity, enough to cooperate and, with good will, share in an economic union and military alliance. But there probably is not sufficient European identity probably not, as of today, to live in a happy federal superstate (just look at Belgium, Spain: does not even work there). We could work to strengthen Europeans’ common identity – as the Catholic Church once did for a large part of Europe – but I don’t think the current methods – Arte and Erasmus – are anywhere near sufficient.

    • Rémi Martin

      Tu parles français? Moi, je ne parle pas l’européen, je ne sais pas ce que c’est!

    • Rémi Martin

      Oui, mais certainement pas mélangées, remuées, mixées ou jenecékoi pour créer une identité illusoire! On unit pas les peuples avec un drapeau, une monnaie commune et des lois pour lesquelles ils n’ont pas votées! D’ailleurs, il en parlait très bien: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ldd5mZrelU

    • Craig Willy

      Je suis d’accord que l’Union européenne – et surtout la zone euro – fonctionne assez mal. Ce qui importe c’est protéger l’identité des nations et de la civilisation européennes. On peut améliorer ou se débarasser des institutions, s’il le faut.

    • Rémi Martin

      Ou juste les quitter, ça suffira pour la France, bon vent pour ceux qui resteront!

    • Rémi Martin

      And what are you doing here then? Just taking the money from our taxes?

    • Александр Запрещенов

      I assume you are European first and then French? And yeah, that’s what I am doing, I applied for nearly 60k in euro funding to design and build a 3D printer and start a start-up company. Failed to get funding this time, will try again. And yeah, I will be using your taxes to try and improve the situation in my country to the best of my abilities, that’s how the EU allows me to benefit from your taxes, and you are the ones who like it so much. You are basically our bitch, Western European taxpayer

    • Rémi Martin

      What’s european? I don’t speak it! The day France’ll leave this useless union, you’ll just find your right place in the world, nothing else.

    • Александр Запрещенов

      I’m not talking about a European language, I’m talking about a European identity and it superceding your national identity. And I believe I made you into a EU skeptic

    • Rémi Martin

      Because do you think I was waiting for Bulgaria to be euro realistic?

    • Harry Bell

      You need to be leaving the EU then.

  14. Marko Martinović

    Ifentity is not a main problem, totalitarian EU practices is. EU leaders should be prosecuted for aiding terror and for crimes against humanity, against their own people. EU is destroying itself already just to be politically correct

    • Rémi Martin

      It was the target since the begining!

  15. Marko Martinović

    Identity is not a main problem, totalitarian EU practices is. EU leaders should be prosecuted for aiding terror and for crimes against humanity, against their own people. EU is destroying itself already just to be politically correct

    • Rémi Martin

      Tu parles français? Moi, je ne parle pas l’européen, je ne sais pas ce que c’est!

    • José Bessa da Silva

      Visca Catalunya Lliure. Gora Euskara, Ceive Galiza, Abajo España. Que exploda a União Europeia!

  16. Bart Van Damme

    The EU constitution was forced on people after the few national referendums they did hold did not yield the desired result. The bigger EU countries have been known to hold their own private meetings while being at summits with all countries, and the moment Greece hit trouble there was talk of kicking them out. And we’ve just witnessed the EU’s failure to properly address what happened in Catalonia. With an EU for the elite and not the people, how do you expect there to be an EU identity?

    • Dee O'brien

      We had to vote 4 times on 2 EU treaties here in Ireland because we gave the wrong answer,it left a sour taste in Irish people’s mouths about the EU and it’s undemocratic ways

  17. Milos Kostovski

    No. Get on with it and create the superstate. I trust there are more positives in unification. Otherwise, the continent will revamp its ghosts of conflicts and divisions.

    • Ivan Burrows

      Pretty sure that’s what they said in Berlin in 1933. ‘One people, One Nation, One leader’ was also a favourite of theirs, seems you are repeating history.

    • Milos Kostovski

      I am repeating history?!?!? I am sure you have a more intelligent counterargument than comparison to the Third Reich.

    • Milos Kostovski

      Why not compare it to a functional union which can be better than US or other Unions. I wish you offered an alternative rather than critisizing the efforts.

    • Rémi Martin

      Can you speak of those others unions? Where and who? You can’t unite 27 peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for! US has nothing to compare to EU, one language, it helps to understand, an artificial construction, peoples who were living there were simply replaced by migrants!

    • Milos Kostovski

      You have a point Rémi. But what is the alternative? That is my question. Revert back to 19th and 20th century nationalism? And it is 21 century. With the current technology don’t tell me language is a barrier.

    • Rémi Martin

      Nationalism is the hate of the others, patriotism is the proud of your land! Are the countries who aren’t in EU nationalist? Certainly not, it’s something medias want to make you believe! Nothing changes, we’re just making wars outthere from Europe, it isn’t better!

    • Milos Kostovski

      Wording is irrelevant. One can attach these labels whenever it suits. Patriotism for the one is nationalism for the other. Countries outside EU have decided so or like in the case of the Balkans, are struggling to prove to you “westerners” that they have been on the continent since always and they are part of Europe equally. Even longer than some estblished member countries. The point is that our generations have a chance to make something better. Instead we are jumping again in the quicksand which almost drowned Europe in the past century. Since mentioning the nazis is a trend (check out Godwin’s Law btw), from the history books that I read it was actually the fear, poverty, and the feeling of victimisation that enabled nacism to flourish and brought Hitler to power.

  18. Pedro Jorge Lemos

    For sure not but the great problem is rebuild the european identity… seems more that eu is sinking, and the Us plane worked well. The Keys das Rússia and all the hate US spreaded against our friends contaminated and compromised all the stability

  19. EU Reform- Proactive

    Here we go again! Take another ride on the omnipresent EU conundrum carousel- where pondering never stops, theories galore occupy paid think tanks & politicians and the average youth (<25) unemployment rate in the Euro Area is a “celebrated” 18.9% at present.

    Of course, the “comparative” disadvantaged youth in the 'club med' countries led & still lead the pack, like: Greece at 43.3 %, Spain 38.7 % and Italy at 35.1 %.

    Severe chronic EU-ism youth syndrome? Surely, they must have caught the "lack of European identity" virus- or?

    Solution: Take two spoon full of JCJ's "EU identity medicine"- one in the morning & one in the evening! A miracle will happen!

  20. Ivan Burrows

    At least you are now admitting there is no such thing as a ‘European identity’, well done.

    • Rémi Martin

      Simply, they’ve replaced the peoples wo lived before to create it!

    • Rémi Martin

      Simply, they’ve replaced the peoples who lived there before to create it!

    • Ivan Burrows

      The USA is a Nation, Europe and the EU are not.

    • Faddi Zsolt

      Ivan Burrows the USA isn’t a nation! The Englanders, Irish, Scotish, Hungarians, Germans, Spanish, Chinese or Indians etc. are nationalities inside the USA, but there is no American nation at all. There is only a mixture of nations. The same goes for the EU too.

    • Coralee De Fréine

      Faddi Zsolt Best let the Americans know that you believe their pledge of allegiance is incorrect. “ONE NATION, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” .

    • Michał Borkowski

      It is not a question of ‘wants’. It’s a question of ‘needs’.

    • Rémi Martin

      You can’t unite peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for, so easy, just look at history! Michal, form which planet are you coming from? Never studied history in your life?

    • Coralee De Fréine

      Enric Mestres Girbal I’d prefer the sooner option. Before they completely dismantle our country’s hard won nation state status and create their superstate.

    • Ovidiu Moldovanu

      Dude, just shut up! They were very clear in saying that violence is not the answer to anything!

    • Rémi Martin

      Europe is peace, they said…

    • Miguel Bruni

      And also said that if a government needs eventually to use it is OK. It is like russians can hit once a year their women.

    • Tiromanzino May

      The only supporting violence are the Catalan Nazi-onalists. Just 4 real hurt from the 800 you fascist trolls denounced

  21. Ηλιας Παρασκευοπουλος

    Erasmus has helped a lot into forming a european consiousnes among european citizens.

    • Marc Mestres Ridge

      Only that these were not riots, just peaceful people armed with votes

    • Rémi Martin

      Europe is peace, they said…

    • Enric Mestres Girbal

      Peaceful people queue to vote, not blockade the entrance to the building HOPING the police will act. Not long ago people was sitting peacefully in Catalunya Sq. and they were dislodged with the same methods.

    • Antonio Casedi

      Marc Mestres Ridge people hampering police trying to do their job. Nothing peaceful about that

  22. Stefano Rossi

    it depends on what you mean by common identity. India is a federation with many more languages, religions and historical traditions than EU, nevertheless is a federation. If you look for an European “national” identity, you will never have it (hopefully), but Europe has a common identity based on constitutional principles which are very similar among the member States, so it can work as federation of states

    • Rémi Martin

      EU isn’t a wish of the europeans peoples, so the project is dead in the egg, nothing else!

    • Stefano Rossi

      EU is the reality for European people. European Federation is a wish for many European citizens

    • Rémi Martin

      As soon as we’ll leave it, you can do want you want! ^_^

    • Dee O'brien

      Stefano Rossi then they should have no problem in giving European wide referendums on its future,you know the right to self determination

  23. Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

    There is a common European identity centred on democracy, social solidarity, and personal freedoms. You will never find this exact combination anywhere else in the world (maybe with the exception of East Asian democracies).

    • Rémi Martin

      Tu parles l’européen? Pas moi!

    • Gemma Vazquez

      La lengua común no es fundamental. Lo son los valores y principios.

    • Rémi Martin

      Je comprends rien!!! Je vais vous quitter, je ne veux pas participer à votre nouvelle tour de Babel!

    • Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

      Language is important, but not a necessary condition for a common identity. In China, for example, most people in the southern provinces don’t speak Mandarin (they speak Cantonese instead). yet there is no question that they identify as Chinese.

    • Ivan Burrows

      Apart from Austria, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, etc etc … ? ‘democracy, social solidarity, and personal freedoms’ have nothing to do with Europe or the EU.

    • Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

      Austria is in the EU. I agree that Canada, Australia and New Zealand could also be seen as “European”, which is hardly surprising given their history. But to include the US is just ridiculous. Please live in the US and tell me more about their level of social solidarity.

    • Rémi Martin

      In your example with China, you’ve just forgotten the history of China… Blood was given to belong to the country

    • Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy

      Rémi Martin You really need to work on your communication skills. What do you mean?

    • Rémi Martin

      Sorry, but globish isn’t my first language, maybe you could try to speak french, because it’s easier to learn french than to understand a French speaking globish! Alors je reprends, il n’existe aucun pays qui honore un drapeau sans que du sang a coulé ou une histoire a été faite pour ce drapeau, tu me comprends mieux là?

  24. Jens Erik Lehmann-Poulsen

    Our European identity is the christian founded cultural and it will survive, as long as we feel, its there/here. Its also a long cultural journey who identify european values. All this make it to a human value and european, when we open our heart and soul for it. We therefore have to believe in it, as we believe in our neighbours in the other countries. :-)

    • Rémi Martin

      Actually, you’ve to think worldwide, not to isolate you with your neighbours! I feel myself nearer from a Haitian, Algerian, Ivorian… than with a Danish( ;) ) , Romanian or I don’t know who from EU, it’s just a fact, sorry!

    • Jens Erik Lehmann-Poulsen

      Rémi Martin I think it is a 3 stage id. First according to Denmark, then according to Europe and then according to the rests of the world. And I have to work on the last :-)

    • Rémi Martin

      Sorry, but I’ve never worked on the second, didn’t know it could exist! A construction based on the race, why not, but without me!

    • Jens Erik Lehmann-Poulsen

      Our culture in our western world are based in european values. All humans are born equal, and in that respect all races has to be handled equal. :-)

  25. Gaotu Davids

    Yes , definitely The EU will become a stronger organization without the hindrances of excess baggage.

    • Rémi Martin

      You can’t unite 27 peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for! Do you believe once we’ll erase 1500 years of history just for a wish of some politicals? Seriously…

    • Gaotu Davids

      I think it’s possible to be part of an organization without sharing the same opinion on every issue, as long as the core European christian principles are shared all the countries can prosper from the economic alliance.

  26. Tiromanzino May

    EU must invest more in promoting tolerance and brotherhood between European countries.

    It is my humble opinion. Just adding new countries without consolidation of current relationships won’t work.

    • Rémi Martin

      Which brotherhood? There’s no union, each country tries to defend his own interests, EU isn’t a wish from peoples, so it can’t work. You can’t unite 27 peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for, it’s a bit harder!

  27. Dee O'brien

    Being honest I find the whole “European identity” a bit creepy with its makey up flag and stars,it reeks of the USSR,then you have the EU doing their damn best to try to get us to think of ourselves as Europeans first and foremost, nationalism is bad,but EU nationalism is good..

    • Dee O'brien

      Remi Rémi Martin I know this video well…that what’s scares me

    • Joël Landais

      We all know that the EU is not democratic (or democratic enough), but comparing it with the Soviet Union is simply ridiculous… Just one thing: where are the European labour camps ? Where is the European Gulag ?

  28. randomguy2017

    How can Europe be Europe?

    When EU is favoring Arabs/Turks/Africans
    instead of Europeans including Germans, Slavics, Latins?

    Immigration should be reduced and controlled.
    The US became a power by integrating immigrants who worked hard.
    The EU is throwing in people who live in camps, ghettos, and so on.

  29. Máté János

    Well the European identity consists of common historical and cultural heritage but not an artificial identity stuffed with orwellian newspeak pc slogans…

    • Rémi Martin

      Could you tell me a common point(history, culture..) the 27 members of EU are sharing? I don’t see very well…

    • Máté János

      Rémi Martin Maybe a bit less Remy Martin and a bit more history knowledge would help. Some suggested topics: Christianity, Crusades, Reneissance, Enlightment…

  30. ironworker

    I’m not so sure what a “common identity” really is. I’m pretty sure that a “european identity” doesn’t exist, in fact, I suspect behind just financial and economic prey and predators. What do I have in common, for instance, with Merkel’s or Macron voters? EU becomes nothing more than a “rich got richer and poor got poorer” hypocritical monster organization.

    • Karolina

      Here is a definition of cultural identity from the Cambridge reference dicitonary (http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095652855):
      “The definition of groups or individuals (by themselves or others) in terms of cultural or subcultural categories (including ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, and gender). In stereotyping, this is framed in terms of difference or otherness. See also ethnic identity; gender identity; identity; lifestyle; national identity.”

      So, if you look at the components of the definition of cultural identity they are actually mostly shared throughout the EU: ethnicity=everyone identifies Europeans as people of a specific appearance; nationality=there is now such a thing as an EU national, a status that allows people to move across borders without the need of a visa and be subject to common laws as well as a common elected parliament; language=the overwhelming majority of languages spoken in the EU are members of the Indo-European language family and share a common ancestor, some of them are mutually understandable (exception are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Basque and Maltese – perhaps 1 or 2 more that I have failed to mention here; religion=traditionally most people in the EU have been Christian, although Judaism and Atheism are also considered European nowadays; gender= this tends to be selective nowadays in the EU, not something tolerated in other parts of the world. So, there is such a thing as a common European identity, even thought it may be somewhat vague. There are other things that come into it in my view, such as common history, art culture etc.

  31. catherine benning

    Can the EU survive without a common European identity?

    What they are now asking for is your permission to have a multi cultural society made up mostly of third world cultures and ethos. In other words your permission to commit cultural and political suicide. To agree to do away with your heritage. And they are asking this because all the complaints about the spread of ethnic lifestyles taking over from the indigenous host culture complain that they were never asked if they agreed to this project of theirs. They are afraid they are being accused of white genocide. And now they want to cover their ‘ahsays.’ Just in case they are finally held to account, akin to the Nuremberg trials, for war crime. Genocide is a ‘war crime’ even when a shot isn’t fired.


    • Karolina

      An interesting comment by Catherine. Exactly because there is a European identity people across the EU are reacting to the importation of non-Europeans with hostile views and practices contrary to European ones. People actually feel quite strongly about this identity.

  32. Ian Stock

    European identity can happen, despite the obstacles. Look at Switzerland – four languages, at least three indigenous cultures and the country works extremely well. It is federalised to keep accountability local, and it is not without its internal stresses – but it still works.

    The main prerequisite for an identity is that you take it on voluntarily, then in time it will happen. It cannot be forced. In order to do that, you have to know your neighbours, and I mean properly, not just spending time in their hotel resorts. Knowledge is power – and the antidote to suspicion and fear. However, I regret that too many of my countrymen not only don’t have that knowledge but even (think they) don’t want it.

  33. Michael Paraskevas

    There is no common identity when the strong fuck the weak. Europe was not meant to be the 4th Reich of Merkel.

  34. Alex Tselentis

    “Common European” identity ?? What does that mean ?? Europe has been populated by “Europeans” for a couple thousand years .. What if youre not in the “EU” you not European ?? LOL

  35. Harry Bell

    Without core commonalities throughout the bloc you cannot have a ‘common identity’, half the continent is low waged economies where those with skills need to migrate to achieve a living wage leaving behind their own struggling fellow ‘citizens’ without the money to either retrain or migrate, all you’re going to end up with are poor regions on the periphery and cheap labour for the big players like Germany, you’re in a race to the bottom regarding wages, more immigration means less in the pot for the indigeneous workforce of each nation state as we have here in the UK, presently being bled dry through financing house building in Romania due to our welfare state, meanwhile the Romanians who came consist mainly of thieves and pickpockets, the only migrants we have here worth having are the Polish as none of the others appear to want ‘work’. Socialism is great till other peoples money runs out to pay for it all, apart from being homo sapien we aren’t all the same regardless how the elite view all of us, the ethos didn’t work in the USSR and sure as hell won’t work in Europe.

  36. randomguy2017

    European identify used to be white European and Christianity.
    sure it had conflicts, but against common enemies,
    alliance were created and invasions were defeated.

    Today, a white European identity is seen as “racist” (its not).
    Christianity is being attacked, suppressed, and the percentage is falling.
    Families are breaking up, there are fertility rate problems.
    All this was done to please some minor groups who claimed to be “normal”.

    • Dee O'brien

      And that’s the great thing about it!

  37. Karolina

    No, it cannot. However, there already is a common European identity which has existed since pre-historic times.

  38. Joël Landais

    Je réponds à mon compatriote Rémi Martin en français !!!!!!

    Oui, je parle européen.
    Je parle même quelques unes des principales langue de l’Union: allemand, italien, espagnol, anglais… et même grec moderne ! (désolé, pas lituanien… hélas)
    Impossible bien sûr à la plupart d’entre nous de maîtriser les 24 langues officielles de l’UE, même si elles sont toutes intéressantes, voire passionnantes.

    Mais la solution n’est pas non plus l’anglo-américain (ou le Globish, appelez-ça comme vous voudrez) qui peut nous américaniser encore un peu plus, mais ne nous donnera pas une identité européenne. Si c’était le cas, cette identité serait évidente pour tous depuis les 60 ans où nous utilisons l’anglais.
    Nous rêvons de l’Amérique et c’est cela qui nous empêche de construire l’Europe.
    Or l’identité européenne existe depuis longtemps déjà, mais nous ne la voyons pas car nous avons le nez dessus. Il suffit de prendre un peu de recul, de vivre quelque temps en Afrique ou en Asie pour comprendre à quel point nous sommes européens, pour prendre conscience que l’Europe est notre civilisation commune, que nous avons la même vision du monde, la même philosophie, les mêmes valeurs: l’humanisme, les droits de l’homme, la démocratie… etc., etc.
    On ne résume pas en quelques mots 2500 ans de civilisation européenne…

    Je pense que la question de l’identité européenne est fondamentale; j’y ai d’ailleurs consacré un article en 3 langues:
    Mais je crois que le problème est que la plupart des Européens (y compris leurs dirigeants) n’ont plus qu’une seule motivation: l’argent… money, money, money. Comme chacun sait, l’argent n’a pas d’odeur: qu’il soit chinois, indien, américain ou européen, c’est pareil et c’est toujours bon à prendre… Mais la pensée de Lao Zi ou de Confucius… (fascinante) et celle de Kant ou d’Aristote, ce n’est pas du tout la même chose.

  39. Joël Landais

    I still don’t understand why most people here write in English, while we could have a nice discussion in French or Lithuanian… but not to offend them, I will translate my previous message into English (=

    Yes, I can speak European.
    I can even speak some of the main languages of the Union: German, Italian, Spanish, English, French of course… and even modern Greek! (Sorry I can’t speak Lithuanian… which I deeply regret!)
    But it is impossible for most of us to speak the 24 official languages of the EU, even if they are all interesting, … fascinating.

    The solution is not Anglo-American either (or Globish, if you prefer) which can americanize us a bit more, but cannot give us a European identity . If that was the case, this identity would be obvious for all of us since we have been using English for 60 years.
    We have been dreaming of America and this has prevented us from building Europe.
    As a matter of fact, European identity has already been existing for a long time, but we can’t see it, though it’s right under our noses. It would be enough for us to step back a little, to live in Africa or Asia for a while, to understand how much European we are, to become aware that Europe is our common civilisation, that we have the same world view, the same philosopy, the same values: humanism, human rights, democracy… etc., etc.
    You can’t sum up 2500 years of European civilisation in a few words…

    I think that the issue of European identity is fundamental; I have even written a 3-language article about it:

    But I think the problem is that most Europeans (including their leaders) have only one motivation today: money, money, money…. Money has no smell, as everybody knows: whether it is Chinese, Indian, American or European, it’s always the same, it’s always a boon… But the thought of Lao Zi or Confucius, which permeates life in China… (how fascinating it may be), has nothing to do with that of Kant or Aristotle.

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